Building on the success of their ‘War of the Worms’ animation, BAVP colleagues at the Moredun Research Institute have produced a series of educational animations on:
Anthelmintic resistance (War of the Worms)
Liver fluke (Fight the Fluke)
Biosecurity (Battle of the Bugs)
Sheep scab (Stop the Spread)
Following the discontinuation in the UK of the only single active praziquantel product for equine tapeworm treatment, BAVP member Prof. Jacqui Matthews from the Moredun Research Institute has teamed up with Westgate Labs and Equisal to produce a guide on best practice for strategic equine endoparasite control.
See Equisal’s press release for more details.
The guide includes reccommended treatment choices based on positive worm egg count and/or tapeworm tests at different times of the year, and a table showing the current anthelmintic resistance status of equine endoparasites.
Prof. Matthews commented in the press release: “I think it’s an issue to limit prescribers’ options for worm species-targeted treatments. Wormer resistance is a growing problem and has the potential to become a major horse welfare threat. Losing the option of a praziquantel-only product means that any treatment option for tapeworm infection will now also impact redworms, whether required or not. Frequent drug exposure speeds the development of resistance and, over time, has potential to significantly decrease the effectiveness of the few chemicals that we have to treat life-threatening worm burdens in horses. To guard against this, we must become more strategic with parasite control. This means seeking tailor-made solutions for control based on knowledge of management, infection risk, drug sensitivity and, importantly, robust diagnostic tests.”
The Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep (SCOPS) and Control of Cattle Parasites Sustainably (COWS) groups are urging sheep and cattle farmers not to take their eyes off the ball when it comes to the liver fluke threat risk this autumn.
While liver fluke burdens on pasture are expected to be much lower than last season, experts are warning it is dangerous to assume that applies to all farms, all areas on a farm, or that levels will remain low as the autumn progresses.
Speaking on behalf of SCOPS, sheep consultant Lesley Stubbings says: “So far, reports from around the UK support this advice. Experts are warning that farmers must keep on their guard and are predicting that, due to changes in weather patterns, acute liver fluke cases may occur later than normal.”
Advice from SCOPS and COWS:-
Diana Williams, Liverpool University and a member of COWS, says: “Snail numbers on farms were high at the beginning of the season. While the hot dry weather caused numbers to drop during July and August in most locations, this was not the case everywhere, with high numbers of snails observed in some persistently wet habitats. This means that although overall numbers of snails are likely to be lower, specific areas of pasture may still present a high risk of fluke.”
John Graham-Brown of NADIS agrees: “The NADIS forecast anticipated that the hot dry weather over the summer months would have reduced snail activity, with lower infection levels of fluke on pasture as a result. Our predictions suggest the peak fluke season may be later and shorter this year.”
On many farms where animals would normally be routinely treated, testing not only aids the timing and choice of treatments but also helps to avoid unnecessary treatments of animals. SCOPS and COWS encourage producers to consider the range of tools available to them:-
Updates from around the UK
Notes to editors: –
Abstract submission for the BAVP winter meeting 2018 has now been extended to Friday 30th November. If you are interested in submitting an abstract or attending please see our event poster for more details on registration fees, abstract submissions etc.
This year’s BAVP winter meeting will be held on the 10th – 11th December at the University of Cambridge.
The main meeting themes will be Climate Change (10th December), which will include a talk from Plenary speaker Dr Cyril Caminade from the University of Liverpool, and General Parasitology (11th December),
If you are interested in attending as either a delegate or as a presenter you can download a registration form by clicking here. Please complete this and return as instructed on the form.
2 Positions available at the Moredun Research Institute, working on the Soay sheep project (http://soaysheep.biology.ed.ac.uk/) on a new NERC funded project, with a great collaborative team.
RA/Lab manager: https://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/BNA771/research-assistant-lab-manager (Deadline 17th October)
Postdoc: https://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/BNC020/post-doctoral-research-associate (Deadline 29th October)
A rise in a parasite called liver fluke, which can significantly impact livestock production in farms in the UK and across the world, could now be helped by a new predictive model of the disease aimed at farmers. The tool, developed by University of Bristol scientists, aims to help reduce prevalence of the disease.
Cattle or sheep grazing on pastures where the parasite is present can become infected with liver fluke, which develops in the liver of infected animals, leading to a disease called fascioliasis. Current estimates suggest liver fluke contributes to around £300 million annually in lost productivity across UK farms and $3 billion globally.
Until now, risk predictions have been based on rainfall estimates and temperature, without considering the life-cycle of the parasite and how it is controlled by levels of soil moisture. This, combined with shifts in disease timing and distribution attributed to climate change, has made liver fluke control increasingly challenging.
A new tool for farmers has now been developed by the Bristol team to help them mitigate the risk to their livestock. The model, which works by explicitly linking liver fluke prevalence with key environmental drivers, especially soil moisture, will help farmers decide whether they avoid grazing livestock on certain pastures where liver fluke is more prevalent, or treat animals based on when risk of infection will be at its peak. Importantly, the model can be used to assess the impact of potential future climate conditions on infection levels and guide interventions to reduce future disease risk.
Ludovica Beltrame, one of the study’s researchers from Bristol’s School of Civil, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, said: “In recent decades, the prevalence of liver fluke has increased from 48 to 72 per cent in UK dairy herds. This new tool will help farmers in managing the risk associated with liver fluke and offers a more robust approach to modelling future climate change impacts.”
Professor Thorsten Wagener from Bristol’s Cabot Institute added: “Water-related diseases can be difficult to eradicate using medicine alone, as resistance to available drugs is increasing. We need predictive models of disease risk that quantify how strongly infection risk is controlled by our rapidly changing environment to develop alternative intervention strategies.”
The five-year study comprising engineering, biology and medical researchers from the Universities of Bristol, Queen’s University, Liverpool and Scotland Rural College, was funded by the EPSRC, the Royal Society, and Bristol’s Cabot and Elizabeth Blackwell Institutes.
‘A mechanistic hydro-epidemiological model of liver fluke risk’ by L Beltrame et al is published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.
Original press release issued: 29 August 2018: http://bristol.ac.uk/news/2018/august/liverfluke.html
The following vacancy is currently being advertised at Queen’s University Belfast. For for more information please click here
Job title: Research Fellow